Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Johannesburg - The SABC has vowed to block what it called attempts to interfere with its editorial independence by the DA.

This is after the official opposition demanded a video clip with the party’s position on the land issue be aired before midnight tonight.

The party filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA against the SABC over the airing of a video statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the ANC national executive committee decision to back calls for the amendment of the Constitution to enable expropriation of land without compensation.

DA communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said it was highly irregular and unacceptable for the public broadcaster to accept a packaged video from a political party to interrupt normal programming to air the recording, and then deny opposition parties the opportunity to do the same.

On Tuesday, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the broadcaster would not allow itself to be forced by the DA to air its video, as the ANC did not do so either.

“For them to be sending us a video saying we must play it, or else, is tantamount to interference with our newsroom. If you have a message, send it and allow us to decide. Leave our editorial to decide whether it is newsworthy or not and play in accordance with the rules.

“They say they are proponents of editorial independence. When it suits them, nobody must interfere but now they want to interfere. If they want to put the position of the DA on land, why they don’t give it to all media and their members can read newspapers and listen to and watch it on other channels.”

Van Damme accused the ANC of using the SABC and government to advance its political purposes. The contentious video clip was produced by Government Communication Information Systems (GCIS) before it was aired as “President Ramaphosa addresses the nation” and then changed to “ANC president makes a special address” after an outcry, she said.

Kganyago said the SABC was ready to defend itself against the DA at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA.

“They have chosen the playing field. Let's deal with it there.”

Political Bureau